Skyline Stars 2005 Inductees into the Transfer Hall of Fame

Skyline College annually honors several outstanding former Skyline College transfer students who have gone on to achieve outstanding educational and career success.

May they continue to brightly shine as special lights of Skyline in the world and serve as an inspiration for many others. Thank you for being a part of this celebration of the power and importance of community colleges.

Congratulations to our Inaugural 2005 Inductees!

Dennis ArreolaJames T. Lim
Golda GacutanPhyllis Lucas-Woods
Michael GuingonaGabriel Molieri
Pamela Hodel

Skyline Star Biographies

Dennis Arreola

  • A.A. Liberal Arts, Skyline College, 1971
  • B.A. Sociology, San Francisco State University, 1972
  • M.A. Counseling, University of San Francisco, 1975
  • M.A. Public Administration, University of San Francisco, 1975

Dennis ArreolaDennis Arreola was the first Student Body President of Skyline College! He was also the valedictorian of the first graduating class of Skyline College! Born in San Francisco, he attended Balboa High School. After graduation, he attempted to attend City College of San Francisco, but admissions had already closed. He was referred to Skyline College, which had just opened in 1969 and in Dennis' words, he "loved it". While at Skyline College, he along, with fellow inaugural inductees, Phyllis-Lucas Woods, Mark Simon, and other members of the Associated Students Governing Council, were instrumental in supporting tax override elections, which allowed the community colleges to remain open. At Skyline College, he also worked closely with James Wyatt, former President of Skyline College, and Mario Lombardi, one of the original counselors for the campus. Dennis went on to transfer to San Francisco State University, earning a B.A. in Sociology. He then attended the University of San Francisco, earning two Masters' degrees - one in Counseling and the other in Public Administration. Dennis then returned to Skyline College and served in the position of Financial Aid Officer for five years. At the age of thirty-one, he became the Dean of Admissions and Records, a position he held for over twenty years. To this day, he remains the youngest administrator ever hired in the San Mateo Community College District. Dennis and Lupe Arreola, who he met in the Admissions Office at Skyline College, will soon celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary. Together they have raised six children and have four grandchildren. Dennis, and Lupe, retired in 2001 and currently reside in Modesto, California. (top)

Golda Gacutan

  • A.A. Paralegal Studies, Skyline College, 2000
  • A.A. Liberal Arts, Skyline College, 2000
  • B.A. Criminal Justice, San Francisco State University, 2002
  • J.D. Golden Gate University, in progress

Golda GacutanGolda Gacutan was born in the Philippines and came to the United States at the age of three. She attended El Camino High School but left early as she had become a teen-age mother. She later completed her high school education at Baden Continuation High School. Golda came to Skyline in 1999 as a welfare mother of three children. Though at first frightened, as she had been away from school for over ten years, Golda discovered she loved college. Though being pressured by welfare to gain immediate job skills, she convinced her worker to allow her to study and earn a Paralegal Certificate. With the help of financial aid, the Disabled Students Program and Services (DSPS), CalWorks, and Educational Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), Golda went on to earn two Associate degrees and maintain a 4.0 grade point average! Golda then went on to work in the Admissions Office at Skyline and continued her studies. She became a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and was nominated for the "USA Academic Scholarship" sponsored by USA Today. She was then selected as a Centennial Scholar, and named "All USA Academic First Team member", as the top community college student in California, winning a full scholarship to the university of her choice.

While raising her three children, working in the Admissions Office, and pursuing her studies with excellence, Golda still finds time to volunteer in the community. She has worked with SITIKE Counseling Center in South San Francisco, which assists mothers who are substance abusers, and currently volunteers with the Homeless Advocacy Program. Now in Law School at Golden Gate University, she plans to work in the area of public interest law, which involves advocating for those who are disenfranchised. A wonderful coincidence is that Golda was an intern in the Law Office of fellow inductee, Michael Guingona! (top)

Michael Guingona

  • A.A. Political Science, Skyline College, 1982
  • B.A. History, University of California, Los Angeles, 1985
  • J.D., University of San Francisco, 1989

Michael GuingonaMichael Guingona was born in San Francisco but grew up in Daly City. He attended Westmoor High School and came to Skyline College in 1980. He is a first-generation American, his parents having been born in the Philippines. While at Skyline he was one of the first athletes to ever play three sports - wrestling, cross-country, and track! The educational support he received at Skyline encouraged him to "reach for the stars" and after earning his A.A. in Political Science in 1982, he achieved his dream of transferring to UCLA. After receiving his B.A. in History at UCLA, he entered Law School at University of San Francisco where he earned his J.D. in 1989. While in Law School, Michael coached wrestling at Westmoor High School and also taught "Street Law" there.

Various factors such as his work as a Public Defender in San Francisco, his work with youth at Westmoor, his affiliation with the Filipino Bar Association and his work as chair of the Asian-American Recovery Service motivated him to get involved in politics. In 1993 he became the first Filipino elected to the Daly City City Council! One of his main goals was to make Daly City more reflective of its ethnic diversity. He established a sister city relationship with Quezon City in the Philippines and founded the Filipino-American festival which is still attended by thousands every June in Westlake, Daly City. In 1995, with a great base of support, Michael, at age 33, became the youngest mayor of Daly City! He has served as mayor three times and is currently serving as vice-mayor. A virtual inexhaustible fountain of energy, Michael has a thriving criminal law practice across from the Hall of Justice in San Francisco and has been chair of numerous boards including the San Mateo Transportation Authority.

Michael is extremely devoted to Filipino culture and was fortunate enough to receive his black belt in "Kombaton", a traditional form of Philippine martial arts, which he also teaches. He also engages in competitive Hawaiian outrigger canoe racing! He has a 5-year old son and will soon be traveling to the Philippines with a group of Filipino-American DJ's bringing "deephouse and progressive" music there as part of MEOW Productions which he founded with his brother, David. A member of the President's Council of Skyline College, Michael is also the star of a new cable TV program, "Citizen Pinoy", focusing on solving problems that Filipino immigrants face in the United States. Instead of an actor going into politics, Michael joked, he is "a politician going into acting!" (top)

Pamela Hodel

  • A.S. Telecommunications, Skyline College, 1998
  • Bachelors of Vocational Education (BVE), San Francisco State University, 2004

Pamela HodelPamela Hodel was born in Famingham, Massachusetts. She came to California in 1969 and for many years worked for the Army and Air Force, as well as in the corporate world. While working for Wells Fargo Bank she was encouraged by her manager to take telecommunications courses at Skyline College. She had never before attended college, found she loved attending Skyline College, and eventually earned an Associate of Science degree in Telecommunications. The coordinator of the program, Omer Thompson, encouraged her to go on and get a Bachelor's degree so she could teach in Skyline College's Telecommunications program. She went to see the Transfer Center Coordinator, Linda Rosa Corazon, and was advised to consider a program she had never heard of, the Bachelor of Vocational Education degree at San Francisco State University, which is designed for individuals with vocational education backgrounds. The program perfectly suited her needs and after earning her BVE degree, Pamela was in fact, offered a position as an instructor in the Telecommunications program at Skyline College. She currently is also taking courses towards Adult Education certification so she can teach in Adult schools and ROP programs. Pamela serves an inspiration and a role model in a program that is predominantly male. She is the mother of two sons who have been very supportive of her educational aspirations. Pamela also loves to travel, particularly to Southeast Asia and collects Ming ceramics. She greatly believes in community colleges, as well as lifelong learning, and is currently taking an Arabic language course at Skyline College. She will also be a presenter at the upcoming "Expanding Your Horizons" conference at Skyline College, which encourages girls and young women to consider careers in fields involving Mathematics, Science, and Technology. (top)

James T. Lim

  • A.S. Business Information Systems, Skyline College, 1987
  • B.S. Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management, Golden Gate University, 1990
  • MBA, Management, Golden Gate University, in progress

James T. LimJames T. Lim was born in the Philippines of Chinese ancestry. He came to Skyline College as an International student in 1985. He immediately felt "comfortable" and "welcome" at Skyline College and went on to earn an A.S. degree in Business Information Systems, where he was the recipient of the highest honors and the California Congress scholarship. From Skyline he proceeded to Golden Gate University in San Francisco where he received a B.S. in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. Upon graduation, he was named Student of the Year and earned Magna cum Laude honors. He later attended classes at Cornell University as the American Hotel Foundation's Hanley Hotels Scholarship recipient, as well as the National Tour Foundation's Scholarship awardee. James has held positions as the Rooms Division Manager at the historic Palace Hotel in San Francisco, where he received a Manager of the Quarter Award in 1994, and was the General Manager of the Sheraton Four Points in Emeryville. He currently serves as the General Manager of Joie de Vivre's Maxwell Hotel in San Francisco. James has also taught part-time at Golden Gate University where he received the 1998 Golden Gate University School of Technology's Distinguished Teaching award. James currently resides in Dublin with his wife, Maria Carlota, an elementary school teacher. They have two daughters and one son. James will soon complete his MBA in Management at Golden Gate University. A great believer in giving back to his community, James serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Philippine International Aid, a non-profit organization that supports projects in the Philippines, especially those benefiting disadvantaged children. (top)

Phyllis Lucas-Woods

  • A.A. Liberal Arts, Skyline College, 1971
  • B.A. English, San Francisco State University, 1973
  • M.A. English Literature, SFSU, 1975

Phyllis Lucas-WoodsPhyllis Lucas-Woods is a native San Franciscan and is a first generation college student. She attended Lowell High School and planned to attend a historically black university after graduation. However, she graduated high school mid-year and her mother wanted her to "keep busy" for a semester, so took her to see the "new" college - Skyline - which had just opened. Phyllis enjoyed the small, comfortable environment Skyline College offered and decided to stay. She was part of Skyline College's first graduating class and even sang at Skyline College's first graduation ceremony! In the early 1970's, she also was a member of the "49er Nuggets", a vocal singing group that was the cheerleading squad for the San Francisco 49ers football team.

After transferring to San Francisco State University and earning her Bachelor's and Master's degrees, she decided to come back and work at Skyline where she became an English instructor for the next 15 years. Phyllis eventually became the Director of the The Learning Center, which she helped create! In 1992 Phyllis became the Dean of Language Arts and Learning Resources at Skyline College. In 2000 she was invited to go to Cañada College where she became Dean of the innovative University Center and Academic Support Services. She currently holds the position of Interim Vice-President of Student Services at Cañada. She has worked for the San Mateo Community College District for over 30 years! In addition to her work at both colleges, Phyllis has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of California Community College Administrators and the Aim High Program in San Francisco, a non-profit educational program for middle school students. However, her greatest joy is being the proud mother of her son, Brian, and the wife of James Woods, a federal bank regulator for the U.S. Department of the Treasury. (top)

Gabriel Molieri

  • A.A. Liberal Arts, Skyline College, 2000
  • B.A. Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, 2002
  • M.A. International Comparative Education, Stanford University, 2003
  • Ph.D. Educational Foundations, University of Hawaii at Manoa, in progress

Gabriel was born in Argentina and emigrated to San Francisco in the late 1960's. As many newcomers did at the time, he put aside his educational plans in order not to burden his family's future. His choice of a vocational course led him to a 20-year career as a surgical assistant. After raising his son as a single parent, Gabriel's inquisitive mind began a serious exploration of philosophy and religion, a path that led to his ordination as a Buddhist monk in the Thai Tervada tradition. Returning to California to care for his mother after his father's death, Gabriel re-engaged his long-postponed educational plans at Skyline College. He earned an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts in 2000 and, taking full advantage of the opportunities and resources offered by the Skyline College Transfer Opportunity Center, he proceeded to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley in 2002, with High Honors, under the auspices of the Skyline College Transfer Scholarship Fund, UCB's Golden Bear Scholarship, The George Miller Transfer Scholarship, The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the Gates Millennium Foundation Scholarship.

The latter two sources of support allowed Gabriel to continue on his academic path and to earn an M.A. in International Comparative Education at Stanford University in 2003. Thanks to the Gates Millennium Scholarship, Gabriel is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Foundations at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, focusing on cultural shifts generated in response to educational reform efforts in developing countries, particularly Thailand.

Often stating, "You never leave a place you love," Gabriel worked at Skyline College in a number of staff and faculty positions until 2004. He worked in the Computer Lab, taught Cultural Anthropology during the summer, assisted faculty members in curriculum planning, and mentored and tutored several students who have gone on to pursue their own transfer opportunities.

Gabriel is looking forward to continuing his life of inquiry and service through education in Hawaii and hopes to be able to return to the Bay Area to continue his contribution to his San Mateo Community College District "family". (top)


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